By Irvin Himmel
Dependence and Direction
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:5, 6).
If there is a theme that runs throughout the book of Proverbs with its variegated flavor, these verses summarize the overall teaching.
“Trust in the Lord” means to show confidence, reliance, dependence, and hope in Him. Trust implies faith, and faith finds expression in obedience. To the extent that we are willing to obey God, we trust Him.
Here are three valid reasons for trusting God:
(1) He merits the confidence of mankind. The inspired record of God’s dealing with humanity gives no case of His proving untrustworthy.
(2) He rewards all who rely on Him and yield to His will.
(3) He can see the end of a thing from the beginning. We never know how our undertakings are going to turn out when we commence them.
Refusing to Lean on Human Understanding
Some trust the Lord in some things, but they rely on their own understanding in other things. The proverb counsels us, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Our ways are not God’s ways. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts (Isa. 55:8,9). Human plans are not divine plans. Many things in life will never be understood by the person who leans on his own understanding. A fool trusts in his own heart.
God’s wisdom is infinite; our understanding is limited and imperfect. God knows all about everything; we know a little about a few things.
But faithless men trust themselves rather than the Creator. “Self-sufficiency and self-dependence have been the ruin of mankind ever since the fall of Adam” (A. Clarke).
Acknowledging God In All Our Ways
Here are some things about God that we should acknowledge in all our ways:
(1) He knows what is best. Like a child which cries for the scissors, we often cry for things that are more injurious than for our good. That is one reason why God does not grant all that we ask. He has the wisdom to guard our interests.
(2) He is right in all things. Not only is He right in what He wills that we do in worship to Him, but also in what He allots for our individual lives. He makes no mistakes.
(3) His will is designed to be our guide. In submitting to His will we are admitting our inadequacy and our dependence on Him.
(4) He controls the universe. While He allows His creatures freedom of choice, He has not stepped down from the throne on high. He is behind the rise and fall of nations. He determines the times appointed and the bounds of our habitations (Acts 27:26).
(5) He holds us accountable. All that we have is from Him as a sacred trust. We are stewards. We cannot escape the day of reckoning that is appointed for all men.
Direction For Our Steps
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
God directs our steps by the lessons of the Bible. Through His divine revelation of His will we are taught by precept and example. To trust Him in a our ways requires our seeking to know what He has revealed pertaining to all our relationships.
God directs our steps by divine providence. The course of events and the temporal surroundings which God provides for us are designed to be for our benefit if we trust Him fully. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psa. 37:5).
God does not choose the shortest and easiest way, but He marks out the good and safe way. He led Israel through the wilderness. He brought Job through suffering and agony. He guided Paul through perils and persecution. He led Joseph through slavery and imprisonment and worldly honor. He guided Daniel safely through a den of lions. Surely He can guide our faltering footsteps.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 7, p. 198
April 3, 1986